Do KuneKunes Make Good Pets?

KuneKunes are small and friendly animals and for this reason they can become good pets. Kunekune means plump in maori. They were first discovered in New Zealand, although genetic analysis indicates they are of Asian origin. There is considerable debate about how they came to arrive on New Zealand shores, but the most plausible theory is that whalers and sealers introduced them in the 19th century.Actually by the late 1970s, this unique breed was on the brink of extinction, before a determined breeding program was set in place to re establish the breed. Today there are thousands of Kunekune pigs around the world.

One of the reasons Kunekunes make great pets is their colorful personalities.  They are gentle, loving and affectionate animals that thrive on social interaction. They have personality plus. They adore tummy rubs. As well as human company, these little creatures love interaction with other animals. So it's a good idea to buy two at a time, even better if they are from the same litter. Don't be afraid to cross graze them with other species.

Piglets, Wilbur in "Charlotte's Web," Porky Pig, and Miss Piggy are just a few of the pigs who have won over millions of fans. Many people bought potbelly pigs as pets in the mid-1980s, and now there's a new pig on the block.

Kunekune (KOO-KNEE, KOO-KNEE), meaning "fat and round," is a rare breed of pig. Despite genetic evidence suggesting an Asian ancestry, the modern domestic pig evolved in New Zealand.

For the majority of their time in New Zealand, these pigs were known only to Maori communities; Europeans knew very little about them. There were just over fifty purebreds left by the 1980s. Thanks to breeding recovery measures, the breed is no longer in danger of extinction. "In the south, kunekune breeders are rare," Katrina remarked.

The tamed animal can learn basic commands like walking on a leash and doing tricks. According to a 2017 Science Daily article, the breed possesses exceptional memory and social intelligence. They are valuable for purposes beyond mere sustenance due to their submissive nature and manageability. They are bought as pets by the majority of our consumers, Katrina remarked. "They enjoy it when you rub their belly."

Because they are mostly grass eaters and require little food when grass is scarce, this breed is able to sustain itself rather well. Because of this, they are also good for preventing acres of land from being overrun. An acre of land can support six Kunekunes. Since they are naturally gregarious, the submissive animals get along swimmingly with the rest of the farm's livestock.  "Kunekunes do not root." This is in contrast to the behavior of most pigs, which can lead to grazing area becoming barren. "Unlike other farm animals, they don't try to climb fences." It is likely that the pig's naturally short and cocked snout discourages rooting.

Although not as widely known as pot-bellied pigs, there is a growing trend of people choosing Kunekune pigs as pets. The Kunekune pigs, unlike pot-bellied pigs, have long hair and are native to New Zealand. Kunekune pigs are unique as they are the sole grazing pig breed. They refrain from disturbing the land, unlike other pigs.

These pigs, pronounced "koo-nee koo-nee" (which means "fat and round"), have care requirements that are very similar to those of pet pot-bellied pigs. It can be argued that they require less maintenance compared to their less furry counterparts. Their temperament is gentle, intelligent, and calm, and they display a wide range of colors, such as black, white, red, gold, brown, and tricolored.

Kunekune pig - common name

Scientific name: Sus scrofa domesticus

Size of an adult: Up to 48 inches in length and weighing between 130 and 220 pounds.

Typical lifespan ranges from 15 to 20 years.

Is it possible to have a pet Kunekune pig?
While it may be possible to have a pet Kunekune pig, it's important to consider whether it's the right choice for you. These are the legal and ethical concerns of owning these pigs.

The issue of legality
Owning a Kunekune pig as a pet is legal in many areas, although some places consider them as livestock and have specific requirements for enclosures and permits. Some places have regulations that permit pigs of a specific size to be kept as pets, as long as they are properly restrained on a leash or confined to an outdoor area. It is important to thoroughly research your state and local laws before considering ownership of a Kunekune pig.

Owning an animal ethically hinges on your ability to meet its needs for it to thrive, just like any other pet. Kunekune pigs require a spacious environment to roam freely, along with regular veterinary attention, social interaction, and mental stimulation. As long as you can ensure that your pig's needs are met, owning one would be considered ethical.
Factors to Keep in Mind
Kunekune pigs come in a variety of sizes and can grow quite large, sometimes reaching weights of up to 200 pounds. This can become an issue when you believe you're adopting an adorable little piglet that later grows into a large pet requiring ample space.

Height is used to classify Miniature Kunekune pigs. It is advisable to request evidence if a breeder claims to have miniature pigs. It would be helpful to request multiple references from individuals who have bought their pigs. Additionally, you can inquire about the weight and height of the pigs from these references. Make sure to complete your homework, thoroughly research what you're purchasing, and honestly evaluate if you are capable of, or even interested in, owning a pet of this size.
8 Facts About Teacup Pigs That May Surprise You Kunekune Pig Characteristics and Disposition
Kunekune pigs are known for their gentle and affectionate nature, making them an ideal choice for individuals who are new to pig ownership. This breed enjoys human interaction, including children, and will happily spend time with their owners, engaging in both relaxation and play.

Kunekune pigs are highly intelligent and have a knack for quickly grasping training techniques. However, this exceptional level of intelligence can lead to boredom and potential destructive behavior if your pig doesn't have sufficient activities and social interaction.
In addition, pigs of all kinds have a tendency to use their snouts to search for food, which may result in accidentally knocking over objects in your home or causing damage to your yard. Consider redirecting this behavior by concealing a portion of their daily food in treat puzzles or in a designated area of your yard where their rooting won't be an issue.

The ideal approach is to obtain your pet pig when they are young, allowing for a significant period to develop a strong bond and earn their trust. Regularly interact with your pig (with care!) to help them adjust to being a pet and improve the likelihood of having an affectionate companion.
For indoor housing of your Kunekune pig, make sure to provide it with its own designated space or room. Some individuals choose to create small enclosures within their homes, while others opt for toddler beds or even tents as sleeping arrangements. They enjoy both indoor and outdoor spaces, so it's important to provide convenient access to the outdoors. Given their potential size of up to 200 pounds, Kunekune pigs require ample space to freely move around and rest comfortably. If you lack sufficient space to accommodate a 200-pound pig, it would be unwise to consider getting a kunekune.

Kunekune pigs can be kept in a barn or an outdoor environment as well. The key to their thriving lies in having access to a secure fenced-in area, preferably with a live wire, where they can freely come and go. Additionally, they need a well-ventilated shelter with sawdust or another type of bedding for a comfortable sleep. Proper shade and ventilation are essential for their well-being, especially in hot weather. When the temperature rises, they resort to rolling in the mud to stay cool and fend off pesky flies. Pigs sweat only from their snouts, making it challenging for them to control their body temperature.
What is the diet and hydration of Kunekune pigs?
Kunekune pigs thrive on a diet consisting solely of grass, unlike pet pot-bellied pigs. In cases where a high-quality pasture is not accessible, such as during a drought or when there is insufficient grass to satisfy the appetite of an adult pig, one can consider using pot-bellied pig pellets and grass pellets as a dietary supplement. The daily pellet consumption for an adult Kunekune is around 2 to 3 pounds. This diet typically consists of a combination of pot-bellied pig food and grass pellets. In case there is a scarcity of grass, you can opt to create a mash by adding hot water to the pellets. It is important to ensure that younger pigs have access to fresh pasture whenever there is grass, even if they consume smaller amounts.

During the summer, it's important for pigs to have a balanced diet that includes both grass and fresh vegetables. During the fall and spring seasons, apples can be included in the diet to increase fiber intake. In the winter, many individuals opt for a pellet mixture as a substitute for grass. In extremely cold weather, it is recommended to provide pellets with a higher protein content (up to 16 percent). It is important to ensure that there is always an ample supply of clean, clear water for them to drink. They have a high water intake and may consume up to 10 liters per day.
Health Issues That Are Common
With regular check-ups from an exotics vet, a Leptospirosis or Erysipelas vaccine every six months (depending on your location), deworming every six months, and proper feeding, caring for kunekune pigs is quite manageable.

Kunekune pigs are more prone to flea and tick infestations due to their long and thick hair. It's important to carefully observe their coat and regularly check for signs of parasites. If you notice any fleas or ticks, it's crucial to remove them promptly and seek professional treatment.

Pigs have a tendency to overeat, which can lead to obesity if their diet is not carefully monitored. Your pig's eyes may have a fat rollover, which could be a sign of being overweight. It is important to consult your veterinarian regarding your pig's diet and refrain from giving them additional treats, such as table scraps.

Physical activity
Kunekune pigs usually get enough exercise by having ample room to roam. However, it is crucial to note that the mental well-being and stimulation of the animal are equally, if not more, significant. Make sure your pig gets some daily exercise by engaging them in activities like searching for their food, solving puzzles (ones designed for dogs can be a good option), or allowing them to explore their outdoor pen.
The Kunekune pigs have a distinctive hairy coat that sets them apart from pot-bellied pigs. Their coat is longer and may even have tassels hanging off their lower jaw. The coat of this animal displays a wide range of colors, while the texture of the hair can vary from silky to bristly or coarse.

Keeping your pig's hair in good condition is easier than you might think. Brushing is not essential, but if you would like to use it as an opportunity to bond with your pet, you can periodically brush them using a soft-bristled brush. Regular hoof maintenance is crucial as well. If hooves, nails, and tusks are not properly maintained, they can lead to soreness, pain, infections, appetite loss, and movement issues. Trimming can be a challenging task for a new owner, so it's always a good idea to seek professional help or assistance from a veterinarian.

Shedding
A Kunekune pig's hair undergoes significant changes throughout the year, particularly during the summer when they experience a substantial shedding period. In most cases, there is no need for you to intervene in this natural process or give them a haircut.
Showering
It is recommended to bathe your pig every few weeks either in your tub or an outdoor bath. You can use baby shampoo or shampoo specifically made for pigs. Regularly cleaning their ears and the skin around their eyes is important, especially when they're young, as it helps to establish a sense of trust and relaxation during grooming.

Information on Size
The male Kunekune pig typically reaches a weight of 200-240 pounds, while females tend to weigh between 120-200 pounds. Kunekune is a breed of pig that is known for its small size, reaching a height of up to 48 inches.

Training Your Kunekune
Consider approaching the training of your Kunekune pig in a similar manner to training a dog. They require a strong and assertive leader. They are highly trainable and are very responsive to positive reinforcement. If there is no clear dominant figure, individuals may naturally assume the role and potentially display aggressive behavior.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Kunekune Pig as a Pet
Kunekune pigs are intelligent and affectionate animals, and they can be wonderful companions when given the appropriate care and living conditions. Consider whether you have the resources and commitment to care for a Kunekune pig, as their sweet temperament can bring long-term enrichment to your life.
Buying Your Kunekune Pig
Although breeders of the Kunekune pig can be found in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, locating these pigs elsewhere can be quite challenging. There are breeders available in certain states across the United States. To find guidance, consider exploring local rescue or enthusiast groups in your area. Anticipate a price range of $600-$1400.

Your breeder will provide valuable support in raising your new piglet and should be knowledgeable enough to address any inquiries you may have regarding your kunekune. It is often suggested to acquire two kunekune pigs simultaneously. This is because introducing a new pig to an older one can be challenging, as the older pig may struggle to accept the newcomer.
Reproduction/Breeding
Breeding Kunekune pigs is a straightforward process. Female dogs typically experience their first heat cycle at around 6 months of age, and will continue to go into heat every 2-3 weeks thereafter. Male Kunekune pigs can begin breeding at just 4 months of age. The gestation period for Kunekune pigs is 116 days, during which 6 to 8 piglets are born.

Pets that are similar to the Kunekune Pig
If you're curious about pets that have similar care requirements to a Kunekune pig, take a look at:

Pot-bellied pig
Chicken Capybaras
Additionally, explore these other fascinating creatures to discover your next companion.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average lifespan of a Kunekune pig?
Kunekune pigs have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years when kept as pets. Pets generally have longer lifespans when provided with proper care and nutrition compared to a farm-like environment.

Is it possible to domesticate a Kunekune pig?
It is possible to domesticate a Kunekune pig, although they will always be regarded as a "wild" animal. They are highly intelligent and incredibly affectionate creatures that have a remarkable ability to learn quickly. This makes them an excellent choice for families and households looking for a wonderful pet companion.

What is the required land size for two Kunekune pigs?
It is recommended to keep 5-6 Kunekune pigs per acre.

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